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New Telehealth items in response to COVID-19

On 11 March 2020, the Prime Minister announced the introduction of temporary Telehealth items under the Medicare Benefits Scheme (MBS) to allow health professionals to deliver essential services to patients at risk or in self-isolation or quarantine.

On 29 March 2020, Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health, announced the expansion of telehealth to the whole of population. This means that from 30 March 2020, telehealth and phone consultations items are available to all Australians.

What does this mean for people with a work injury?

The new MBS video conference and telephone consultation items are available to GPs, specialists, consultant physicians, and consultant psychiatrists treating patients with a work injury.

You can access the new Telehealth fees here.

Are Telehealth items available to allied health practitioners?

Yes. ReturnToWorkSA has created new telehealth fees for treating physiotherapists, exercise physiologists, and occupational therapists. These fees are available to workers with an existing claim who have been impacted by COVID-19. Treating psychologists, mental health occupational therapists and social workers can provide telehealth under existing fee structures.

  • Physiotherapists, Exercise Physiologists and Occupational Therapists can access the new Telehealth fees here.
  • Treating Psychologists are already able to conduct initial and subsequent consultations via telephone and video calling within the existing Psychology Fee Schedule and Policy.
  • Occupational Therapists providing mental health services can conduct initial and subsequent consultations via telehealth/telephone utilising the existing fee items within the Occupational Therapy fee schedule.
  • Mental health social workers providing services to injured workers may also do so via telehealth/telephone and should speak with the patient’s claims manager with respect to how to charge for the service.

Can Independent Medical Examinations be undertaken via Telehealth?

Independent Medical Examinations conducted by Psychiatrists can be undertaken via telehealth (video conferencing) utilising the existing fee schedule. In certain circumstances, Independent Medical Examinations can be conducted via telehealth to assess a physical injury utilising the existing fee schedule. It is the responsibility of our Claims Agents to ensure the claim circumstances are appropriate for a video consultation.

Ensuring the safety of your staff and patients

We recognise that the safety of staff and patients is everyone’s top priority so we encourage you to implement your own strategies to minimise risk (for example, asking patients to phone beforehand if they are feeling unwell, asking screening questions when booking appointments).

Further information

The information on this page will be updated regularly as circumstances change. If you have any questions, please contact Scheme Support on 8238 5757 or email providers@rtwsa.com. If your query is claim specific, please contact the patient’s claims manager.